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January 20, 2019

Lamu launches land survey to resettle Shifta war squatters

Lamu governor Fahim Twaha with the squatters during the survey launch on July 20.
Lamu governor Fahim Twaha with the squatters during the survey launch on July 20.

The Lamu county government has launched a land survey aimed at settling squatters who were displaced from their homes during the Shifta war in the 1960s.

The survey will be conducted in Mvundeni, Shanga-Rubu, Shanga-Ishakani, Mkononi and the Mwambore area on the Kiunga border with Somalia.

Parts of Lamu East subcounty which were affected by the war will also be surveyed.

Governor Fahim Twaha on Friday said the county wants to resettle the squatters to end many land squabbles.

"Many people were displaced and they have been suffering," Twaha said. He spoke at the county headquarters in Mokowe where he addressed about 1,500 squatters.

The resettlement is targeting at least 5,000 squatters. The governor said they will be issued with title deeds before the end of the year.

A total of 20,000 squatting families are expected to have been resettled in the next four years.

Twaha also asked those who were displaced to return and reclaim their lands, saying the county will support them.

“We want all squatters to own title deeds in the next four years,” Twaha said.

The governor said they were in talks with ranch owners for more land to resettle the squatters.

At least 5,000 people have already received title deeds for their lands in the last 18 months.

Twaha said his administration was keen on ending landlessness and conflicts caused by ownership disputes that have marred the region since independence.

He said the thorny issue of land ownership and the ever-growing number of squatters was a major cause of poverty among residents.

“We want to buy more land in order to resettle our people. People need title deeds to develop their lands, economies and livelihoods,” Twaha said.

Lamu East MP Athman Shariff asked the county to ensure proper identification and verification of beneficiaries to lock out fraudsters.

He also called for cooperation with the national government for funding to enable the victims return to their lands to start new lives.



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